NSW Management Interns' Blog

Blog posts by NSW Management Interns of the Australasian College of Health Service management


Oscar Chaffey
Oscar Chaffey

ACHSM blog

How to manage stress at work

Author: Jacqueline Kozman, 2nd year Trainee

Date: 12/12/2014

As our second year trainees are starting their career in health management, it is important for them to be able to recognise more about the stresses they will face in the workplace, and how to control them. While some workplace stress is normal, excessive stress can interfere with your productivity and impact your physical and emotional health; your ability to deal with stress might be the difference between success or failure.

The ability to manage job stress is something that can be learnt. There are a variety of ways in which you can reduce both your overall stress levels and the stress you find on the job and in the workplace. These include:

Tip 1: Recognise warning signs of excessive stress at work

When you feel overwhelmed at work, you lose confidence and may become irritable or withdrawn. This can make you less productive and less effective in your job, and make the work seem less rewarding. If you ignore the warning signs of work stress, they can lead to bigger problems. Beyond interfering with job performance and satisfaction, chronic or intense stress can also lead to physical and emotional health problems.

Tip 2: Reduce job stress by taking care of yourself

· Get moving, make food choices that keep you going, get enough sleep and get support.

Tip 3: Reduce job stress by prioritising and organising

  • Create a balanced schedule. All work and no play is a recipe for burnout.
  • Don’t over-commit yourself. All too often, we underestimate how long things will take.
  • Get to work on time - don’t add to your stress levels by running late.
  • Prioritise tasks. Make a list of tasks you have to do, and tackle them in order of importance.
  • Delegate responsibility. You don’t have to do it all yourself. If other people can take care of the task, why not let them?
  • Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to contribute differently to a task, revise a deadline, or change their behaviour at work, be willing to do the same. Sometimes, if you can both bend a little, you’ll be able to find a happy middle ground that reduces the stress levels for everyone.

Tip 4: Reduce job stress by improving emotional intelligence

  • Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage and use your emotions in positive and constructive ways.
  • Realise when you’re stressed
  • Stay connected to your internal emotional experience
  • Recognise and effectively use non-verbal cues such as body language
  • Develop the capacity to meet challenges with humour
  • Resolve conflict positively

Tip 5: Reduce job stress by breaking bad habits

  • Resist perfectionism.
  • Clean up your act.
  • Flip your negative thinking to positive thinking.
  • Don’t try to control the uncontrollable.

Tip 6: Learn how managers or employers can reduce job stress

It's in a manager's best interest to keep stress levels in the workplace to a minimum. Managers can act as positive role models, especially in times of high stress, by following the tips outlined in this article. If a respected manager can remain calm in stressful work situations, it is much easier for his or her employees to also remain calm.

Reference: Jeanne Segal, Ph.D., Melinda Smith, M.A., Lawrence Robinson, and Robert Segal, M.A. Last updated: November 2014. Retrieved from http://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-at-work.htm

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